October 24, 2017, 10:38:55 AM

Author Topic: Seeking enlightenment and why you can't have it  (Read 494 times)

Offline Skip

Re: Seeking enlightenment and why you can't have it
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2017, 09:59:15 PM »
I had to go back to the original post to pick up the thread. I think we got rather sidetracked by that word "enlightenment." That's not the only thing Yora said. Here's the key line, to my mind.

> a protagonist who ventures out into the unknown to encounter dangerous supernatural things and beings because she hopes that seeing and experiencing parts of reality that are usually outside of people's perception will bring her wisdom and enlightenment.

Note "wisdom" as well as "enlightenment".  So I generalized that out to character growth, which puts the proposition onto more familiar ground. Especially since Yora said this may well be a series, this works quite well, imo.

The MC starts out with a hope of wisdom with the specific method of experiencing the supernatural. It was further said that the MC isn't going to experience a single revelatory burst. There must be a hundred ways to do this.

This won't be a matter of defining wisdom (deliberately avoiding enlightenment, me), but rather of finding aspects or pieces of wisdom. I won't try to suggest these; I think any of us could come up with a list. Each piece would become the object for a given story. Even better, the MC starts out aiming for one thing but winds up with another, so she's always surprised at the outcome.

This also lets the author put a wide variety of obstacles in the way. Setting out after the wrong thing is but one. I'm confident Yora can think of others.

But you also want something that ties all the stories together. One is growth, certainly. Book 5 should reflect lessons learned, ground gained (and lost!) in the previous books. More can be done, though. One can center around allies, friends. These, too, can be gained and lost. A theme that appeals to me is appearances and reality. The outsider may think that this gem or that statue is literally what was won, was the object of the mission. But the real prize is what it represents--the character's growth. Which is what she really desired all along.

It's precariously easy to become preachy with this, but done right it could be compelling. One more thing comes to mind. As sketched, we have different antagonists. I wonder if there's room for an underlying or overarching antagonist. Could be an actual person, an organization, or even flaws within the MC. Or even something eternal about the nature of the world (thinking again of Siddharta here).

To quote the immortal Al Swearengen, anyways....
Visit Altearth